TORONTO, Ont. — Canada’s third Salute to Women Behind the Wheel took place at Truck World on April 21. The salute brought together 41 female drivers, with 600 years of combined driving experience.
The Salute is an initiative of Women In Trucking (WIT) to honor female drivers and recognize them for their service.
A hallmark of the event is a group photo of all the women who hold commercial drivers’ licenses wearing the signature red salute T-shirt. Salute organizer, Joanne Ritchie, also the executive director of OBAC, called the display an attention-getting way to illustrate women’s presence in the male-dominated trucking industry.
“Female drivers make up only a fraction of the driver population in Canada, but their numbers are growing,” she said. “The intent of the salute is to honor the contribution of the existing drivers and to demonstrate to women outside the industry that trucking is a good career choice with abundant opportunity. It was particularly gratifying this year to see several women in the crowd with one year’s experience or less. These newcomers are the future of our industry, and we want to make feel valued and welcome.”
The Women In Trucking Association, based in Plover, Wisconsin, boasts about 4,000 members from all over the globe including about 300 Canadian members. While drivers are a major focus of the group, it represents female workers in all facets of trucking and transportation, including technicians, logistics personnel, management and admin workers.
“The women here today are very much pioneers in a field that is dominated by male drivers,” said Ellen Voie, President and CEO of Women In Trucking Association. “They are succeeding and doing great in their chosen field and we are here to celebrate their achievements and accomplishments.”
Jane Jazrawy, CEO of CarriersEdge, a leading provider of online driver training for the trucking industry and a platinum sponsor of the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel, said the event is a great opportunity to highlight women who have chosen a non-traditional career in the trucking industry.
“I think it’s so important to have women doing non-traditional jobs,” said Jazrawy. “I began my career in the technology industry, and there were very few women in that sector at the time. I understand those challenges and I think it’s incredible to see all of you here today.”
The British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA) will co-host the first Western Canadian Salute at Truxpo in Abbotsford, BC on May 12, and two more events are scheduled for 2019 in Montreal and Moncton. For more information, contact Joanne Ritchie at email@example.com or 613-237-6222.